Rhubarb, ApriSquash & Quinoa Stew

R-H-U-B-A-R-B!  It’s in Season!!!!  And it doesn’t have to be put in every single pudding or cake.  Yes, rhubarb can be used in main meals too.  Hurray!  My lovely mother-in-law brought me a huge stash of the rhubarb from her kitchen garden in Dorset and after much contemplating of what to do with it….. this recipe was born.  It’s easy, yummy and super fun to cook.  I say, this weekend, give it a go!

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I’m all about simplicity, so even though this recipe might ‘look’ complicated, I promise you, it’s not.  Here’s what y’all will need!

2 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 Tbsp. cumin seeds

1 Tbsp. cardamom pods

1 large onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated

800g butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes

5 sticks of rhubarb, sliced

15-20 dried apricots

200g quinoa

3 Tbsp. raw honey

handful of flat leaf parsley, to garnish

ImageStart by heating the coconut oil in a large pan.  Grind the spices in your mortar and pestle to release the fragrance and add to the melted oil, stir for about 5 minutes.  The smell will be divine!  Add the onion, garlic and ginger and blend in to the spices for about 2 minutes.  Add the rhubarb, butternut squash and apricots and again, blend well with the spice mixture.  Next, add the quinoa and 900 ml of water, cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked and the squash is soft.  Season with sea salt and black pepper and stir in the honey.  Serve with an awesome handful of some delicious parsley!

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We all know that rhubarb is great for puddings/desserts/cakes and more.  But what if I were to tell you that it also an amazing nutritional addition to your diet!  It’s often thought of as a fruit, but guess what… it’s a vegetable!  This “plant” contains a fair amount of potassiumvitamin CVitamin Adietary fibre, and calcium.  There are also claims of additional health benefits, such as anti-cancer properties, aiding indigestion, lowering blood pressure, diminishing hot flashes, lowering cholesterol, and reports of anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergy properties.  So dig in!

ImageAnd cheers to R-H-U-B-A-R-B!

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Butternut Squash and Brown Rice Soup with Coriander

Here’s a great recipe if you’re looking for a meal to warm you up this winter that’s also packed full of goodness – Butternut Squash and Brown Rice Soup with Coriander. This is a fairly easy to make dish that doesn’t require too many ingredients; you’ll likely find that you have most of them in the cupboards already!

To get started creating this gorgeous meal, which will easily be enough to feed four people, this is what you’ll need:

Approximately 1 kg (2lb 4 oz) butternut squash
Coconut oil for frying or  a splash of vegetable stock
2 medium onions
2-3 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 litre (4 cups) vegetable stock
175g (6oz) brown rice
Fresh coriander (cilantro)

To start, take your butternut squash and cut it up into manageable chunks. Make sure you save all of the seeds as they will come in useful later! You then need to chop up the two onions and decide whether you are using coconut oil or veg stock to fry them in. Once you have made your choice, you can heat some in the pan and chuck the onions in. As the onions are frying you can then add the garlic, the spices and the chilli to the pan. Stir it all together for a few seconds and then add the butternut squash.

Make sure that you stir the contents of the pan well before you pour in your vegetable stock, then bring it to the boil. Once you’ve reached this point you can add half of the rice and set the pan to simmer.

You should now pop the seeds you’ve saved into the oven to toast! There are two things that you can do with these seeds later on, depending on your preferences. Either add them into the first pan which is to be blended later; alternatively you can use them on top of your soup with the coriander garnish. If you are going to add the seeds into the first pan then you will need a high performance blender, such as a Vitamix, to do this properly.

Whilst your first pan is simmering you can then boil the rest of the rice in water for approximately 15 minutes. Alternatively you can just use your rice cooker. If you decide to do the rice in a pan then make sure you set the rice to drain as soon as it’s ready.

After 30 or so minutes, the butternut squash should be soft and cooked through. This means it’s time to take it off the heat. You can now blend it before returning it to the pan and adding the other batch of drained, cooked rice. Now that everything is cooking together you can set the pan to simmer and season to your desired taste.

Your soup can now be garnished with coriander and served!IMG_0292

Whilst you’re enjoying your delicious meal it will also please you to know that what you’re eating is just as good for your body as it is for your taste buds! Butternut squash is full of antioxidants and vitamins, and is also a very low calorie vegetable. It contains absolutely no cholesterol or saturated fat but it is a fantastic source of fibre.

The most prevalent vitamin in butternut squash is vitamin A which is a powerful weapon for keeping your skin healthy. It is also a great vitamin for maintaining good eyesight and it has even been suggested that it can help the body in the fight against some cancers.

Whenever you use butternut squash, it’s a great idea to keep and use the seeds. These seeds are an amazing source of fibre and have many benefits for the health of your heart. They are full of minerals, proteins and vitamins that will do your body wonders.  Enjoy!

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